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House of Leaves
The first 200 words of this essay...
House of Leaves
Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves is ambitiously postmodern on the scale of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (1996). Both are long, convoluted novels with multiple strands of narrative, lots of footnotes, and much self-consciousness in their use of literary form. While Wallace explored the theme of the addictiveness of popular culture in the context of Alcoholics Anonymous, Danielewski writes in the gothic tradition of Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft as filtered through the mock documentary format of the film The Blair Witch Project (1999). The novel's structure has affinities with Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) in its creation of an alternative universe and James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) in its use of multiple styles to add layers of meaning to the story. In essence, House of Leaves is a horror novel that uses page layout for suspense and pseudoscholarship to add a sense of the literary heritage behind blood and gore.
Danielewski's narrative gradually unfolds under several layers of exegesis. Johnny Truant, a young drug-addled character who works in a Los Angeles tattoo parlor, stumbles upon a trunk full of papers in the smelly apartment of a recently deceased old
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